I'm an experienced CF developer taking my first stab at OSS development. I'm struggling with several translations between the languages and their capabilities, but my current concern is the url. In order to make my urls more search engine friendly, I construct them as follows:

http://domain.com/file.cfm/n1/v1/n2/v2/n3/v3

Given CFs environmental variables and support for lists, I can easily create a custom function to parse this and retrieve the query string and all of its name value pairs. Because I'm so new to PHP, though, I don't have the tools yet to manipulate the language in a sophisticated manner. How can I extract the required variables from the url above to end up with $n1="v1", $n2="v2" and $n3="v3"?

Also, a couple of quick questions:

1. Does PHP support dot notation for structures/associative arrays?
2. Is there a function to format a date (similar to DateFormat() in CF)?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Like all new beginnings this is pretty frustrating. Thanks for all of the help I am (and will be) posting here.